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September 25, 2017

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Cuba dissidents get mixed results on passport reform

HAVANA -- Two Cuban dissidents who applied for passports to go overseas under recently enacted travel reform reported mixed results Wednesday, as one former prisoner was turned down while a prominent blogger excitedly tweeted a photo of her brand new, bright blue travel document.

"The called me at home to say my passport was ready! They just delivered it!" Yoani Sanchez wrote on Twitter. "Here it is, now the only thing left is to get on that plane."

By her own account Sanchez has on some 20 occasions been rejected for the much-detested exit visa that for decades was required of all islanders seeking to go abroad. That requirement ended Jan. 14 when a new law took effect scrapping the permit.

But Angel Moya, one of 75 other anti-government activists imprisoned in a 2003 crackdown on dissent, said he went to file paperwork and the US$50 application fee to request a passport, but a clerk turned him down.

"She told me, after consulting a database, that I was restricted and it couldn't be processed for reasons of public interest," Moya told The Associated Press.

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